Featured Online Faculty Profile
Bob Goldwasser, MBA, DBA
Professor - Professor, Online
Teaching Field: Business
Where I come from
I went into the family transportation business straight out of college. Over time, I grew it, opened my own transportation business and sold that business. In my early 40s when I was working full time, I went back to graduate school because I felt a need for more management training. Getting my MBA opened my eyes to the potentials of the adult education. My class was full of professionals from all walks of life and different industries, and we had the opportunity to share ideas and experiences.
I enjoyed learning so much that I went on for my doctorate. Under the direction of Dr. Michel Polski of the Grenoble Graduate School of Business, I did original research on using the internet as a vehicle for developing customer relations for a professional sports team. My home team, the New Orleans Hornets, gave me access to its fan base and to its executive staff for a case study of an NBA basketball team, which I later published as Electronic Fan Relationship Management. Now, I consult with sports teams on how to increase and develop their fan base.
Another reason I love the internet
I started teaching at a local New Orleans community college, and now have taught four years for DeVry University Online. I like teaching online better than teaching in the classroom for a lot of reasons. In a traditional classroom, you have people who are more extroverted than others, who like to sit up front row and raise their hands for every question. This creates peer pressure. An online environment frees the other students, the ones who sit back and think. Everybody has an equal chance to state their opinion. And there is no prejudice online; people don't know what you look like or what ethnic or racial group you belong to.
The online instructor has various means to monitor participation and preparation that keep the grading for the class fair and equal. We communicate back and forth through the discussion and the Question & Answer forums. I give students my email address and respond to their messages within 24 hours. If a student has a question or a problem, they pick up the phone and call me, and we solve the problem.
Distance learning is all upside
Students do not have to leave home and be separated from their family; they don't have to line up a baby-sitter or miss class if the baby-sitter doesn't come. There are no safety issues about driving in the dark or parking at night on campus. Bad weather doesn't pose a hardship. Every student participates at the time that's best for them. It is incredibly convenient. It's tough to hold a fulltime job, take care of family responsibilities, and earn a degree at the same time. The online experience makes that a little easier.
Who's in the mix?
My classes average 20 students, which is big enough to allow diversity and small enough for one-on-one interactions and relationships. Most are adults between 25 and 50 years of age. Typically 60% are female; many are raising families and preparing to join the work world once the children get older. The males in my classes have often moved up the ladder at work but they can't take the next step into management until they get their degree. In addition, a percentage of students are soldiers in Iraq, athletes playing sports overseas, young people on Caribbean islands or Alaska or Hawaii who don't have local access to universities.
Since my class is an "intro" course it is usually their first online experience, and people worry about doing things wrong the first time, I do my best to help students through it until they build confidence and get beyond the fear of making a mistake. If someone is not communicating in the first couple of weeks, I communicate with them offline by phone or email. Whatever is stopping them, it is usually a simple problem to solve. We require that students post to discussions at least six times a week, but a lot of students exceed the requirements because they enjoy the interaction.
Getting an education is like growing a business
Self-discipline and time management are crucial for success. Students have to develop a plan and stick to it to develop results. They have to motivate themselves to sit in front of the computer and do the work. Finding the time to devote to their studies takes planning. We set smaller, more easily achievable goals at the start of the course. Goals get more challenging as time goes on but by then students have gained the confidence and time management skills to deal with it.
Not for just a year
The world of business is changing so fast today due to global competition and the impact of technology, that someone who graduated from high school or college 20 years ago doesn't have the tools to compete. In the future, changes will come at a much faster pace. If I can give someone the enthusiasm and the motivation to continue learning throughout their life - not for just a day, not for just a year - that gives me great satisfaction.
DeVry University has a terrific system in place. Its management is tops in its field, the courses are very well-organized, and the professors are very knowledgeable and experienced. The student who chooses to earn a degree from DeVry University will get a serious education and leave with a body of knowledge that they can put to use, now and for the future. The bottom line for my students is that they are looking for practical knowledge they can use today or implement tomorrow to improve their position at work. DeVry University delivers, and the industry knows it.